Ken Connor

Most people are familiar with the old adage that says "the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." Originally the refrain of a poem honoring motherhood, today this phrase is perhaps more applicable to the omnipresent hand of the modern nanny state. Think of the Obama campaign's cradle-to-grave welfare avatar "Julia" and you get an idea of just how pervasive the idea of government involvement in virtually every aspect of life has become.

If Americans wish to see the inevitable results of such government patronage in our everyday lives, we need look no further than to our northern neighbor Canada, where the Supreme Court is being asked to give doctors the authority to decide if and when to remove life-sustaining medical care from patients, even if those patients are deemed to be conscious and even against their family's objections. From an article published in the British Medical Journal:

Canada's Supreme Court will next week consider an appeal from two Canadian doctors who seek, against a family's objections, to withdraw life sustaining treatment from a patient they originally diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, but whom they now describe as minimally conscious. Hassan Rasouli, 60, a retired Iranian born engineer, contracted bacterial meningitis in late 2010 after surgery to remove a brain tumour, and has since been on mechanical ventilation at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. All parties agree, however, that he is no longer in a vegetative state and has repeatedly given the thumbs up at his wife's request. . . . Given the change in the patient's diagnosis, the family has submitted a motion to dismiss the case as moot, to be heard on 17 May. But the doctors argue that the full case should still be heard in December, citing in court documents "a great need for guidance from this Court . . . when the law is unsettled." "The Court of Appeal misapplied the law of informed consent in order to confer upon patients a right to insist upon the continuation of a particular treatment when the medical standard of care requires it to be withdrawn," they argue.


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.